Sen. Oberweis: Taxpayers pay the price for 'corrupt bargains' struck by Democrats like Sen. Cullerton
Illinois state Sen. Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) sees the real victims as state taxpayers in the ongoing federal corruption probe that has now ensnared colleague Sen. Thomas Cullerton (D-Villa Park).
“Federal prosecutors and the FBI have laid out their case that Cullerton was essentially a Teamster union leadership ghost payroller the entire time he was an Illinois state Senator who voted on laws that govern every aspect of the employer-employee relationship,” Oberweis told the DuPage Policy Journal. “If true, he has betrayed his constituents and the State of Illinois and he will pay the price, but nowhere near the price Illinois taxpayers pay in the form of $160 billion in combined public employee pension debt that is the product of the corrupt bargain between the unions and the Democratic Party.”
Authorities recently moved to federally indict Cullerton on as many as 39 charges alleging he pocketed as much as $275,000 from a job he took from union bosses where he had no duties or even a job description. Word of the indictment came just 72 hours after former longtime Teamsters boss John Coli Sr. pleaded guilty to federal charges of corruption and agreed to cooperate with authorities going forward.
Several media outlets have reported that court filings suggest Cullerton and Coli were in cahoots as recently as four years ago with the veteran lawmaker walking away with the high-salaried post now at the center of the probe.
“The corrupt bargain between labor unions, especially public sector unions, and the elected officials who vote on their contracts has been exposed in its most corrupt form with the indictment of Sen. Cullerton,” Oberweis said. “It needs to end.”
Through his attorneys, the 49-yer-old Cullerton, a distant cousin of Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago), has denied all the allegations. He is the seventh Illinois legislator to be hit with criminal charges over the last seven years. Oberweis goes as far as to suggest Cullerton may not have been in the position he's in were it not for his last name.
“Had his name not been Cullerton, he might never have been elected in the first place, which is the reason the Chicago tradition of family political dynasties should be rejected by voters,” Oberweis said.